Blog de Patrick Stefan Soltis

A Shorter Letter

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Somewhere on the Internet, Mark Twain is quoted as having written, "I would've written a shorter letter, but I ran out of time." A quick investigation reveals that he never did say that, but instead that a number of other famous people - John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Woodrow Wilson, and more - did say something to a similar effect. Whoever said it, though, the idea rings true across time. Although at first it might seem that a longer text might require more time to compose, the reverse is often true. A shorter text often requires more time to compose because it takes more effort to condense the message into less space. This holds true for letters, novels, elementary school lesson plans, and yes, also scientific writing, in fact.

Science is Hard

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Science is exciting. Fact. We know this is true because, since science is also difficult, nobody would bother doing science if not for the excitement. They’d pick something that pays better and lets you leave right at 5 pm every day. You could not show me a scientist who is never stimulated while inventing a new theory, ecstatic when experimental evidence proves conclusive, motivated to solve one of society’s great problems, or enthralled when learning about the mysteries of the universe.

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